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Gutter Guards

You should clean your gutters several times a year, even if there are no trees overhanging your home. Windblown leaves, dust, and other organic matter inevitably will collect in the gutters. Moreover, some types of roof shingles can be prone to gradual erosion from the weather, causing a slow buildup of silt in the gutters.

Installing gutter guards can radically reduce the amount of maintenance that your gutters require. Also known as leaf guards or gutter covers, gutter guards prevent leaves, twigs, acorns, or other debris from collecting in your gutters where they will clog the drains and decompose into a heavy rancid sludge. If your area experiences freezing temperatures during winter, clogged drains also can foster ice buildup after rainy or snowy weather. The weight of this ice, in turn, can bend the gutters and/or pull them loose from the house.

In general, gutter guards are of two principal types:

  • a mesh or screen over the gutters: this is the cheaper solution. It reduces the frequency and difficulty of ongoing gutter cleaning, but does not eliminate it. You must still clear leaves and other debris that catch atop the mesh, either by climbing up a ladder or by using a long-handled brush. Moreover, smaller particles inevitably will slip through the mesh, requiring the periodic removal of the mesh to reach into the gutters.
  • a solid cover with side slots: a solid cover with side slots to permit the entry of water needs much less upkeep than a mesh or screen. Once again, however, do not expect it to be completely maintenance-free. Debris may catch in the slots, so regular inspection

    and the use of long-handled brush to clear them is advisable. Furthermore, small particles and silt are bound to wash through the slots, so occasional removal of the covers may be necessary.

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